President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko assigned members of the Organization Committee on the Twentieth Anniversary of the Chornobyl Accident, which is headed by Deputy Prime Minister Stanislav Stashevsky, to meet this week.

The President believes it is important to draw people’s attention to problems of the Chornobyl zone and to formulate a complex plan of its re-cultivation. He criticized former governments for their indifference to the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

“There is still no complex plan to solve problems of the Chornobyl zone. We remember about it once a year – on April 26. But that does not help us solve social problems of Slavutych, aid more than three hundred self-settlers, or cope with the problem of re-cultivation,” he stressed.

Yushchenko thinks all state officials should formulate common approaches to the solution of these problems. He said this was one of the key subjects at a recent meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. The Head of State added that he was grateful to the Verkhovna Rada for its resolution to hold special hearings on Chornobyl problems on December 13.

“There is no need to pretend that there is no zone. This only conserves all problems,” he stressed, adding that we should “revive the zone where it is possible.”

The President noted that there was no official plan to rationally use the zone.

“Our incomprehension of what to do with the zone creates new problems,” he opined.

Yushchenko thinks the plan to solve Chornobyl problems should include “unique moves” and first of all concern social and economic issues. To attract our attention to these problems, the President made several statements while visiting the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant last week.

The Head of State said we should construct a modern and environmentally safe plant in the Chornobyl zone to store and process nuclear waste from Ukraine’s nuclear power plants. He reiterated that we annually paid USD 60-80 mln to Russia for storing our waste, which should still be returned to Ukraine according to international rules, Ukrainian laws, and interstate Russian-Ukrainian agreements. Yushchenko said the plant would not only save budget money but would also help create jobs for the people residing in the zone. He added, however, that this issue should be first thoroughly studied by experts and scientists and publicly debated. The construction should also be consistent with current Ukrainian laws.

Yushchenko noted that we needed investments to re-cultivate the Chornobyl zone or to complete the construction of the Shelter over the fourth unit. Investors will be interested, he said, when there is a detailed and economically reasoned development project.

The President urged the government to closely cooperate with the Verkhovna Rada and its committees, explaining their decisions to the community and constantly communicating with environmental organizations.


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